The Concept of Sustainability

What do you think of when you think of sustainability? Many people initially think about the impact on the environment not realizing the term “sustainability” refers to more than just a concern for the effects on the environment. 

Sustainability and its impact on the asphalt industry was the basis of the 2022 Asphalt Institute Foundation (AIF) Star Symposium. The AIF conducts strategic research along with educational activities that advance and improve the asphalt industry.  

The 2022 Strategic Asphalt Research Symposium (STAR) continued with the AIF’s commitment to improving the asphalt industry and held its second symposium May 16-18, to identify solutions for the betterment of the asphalt industry’s future. 

During this STAR Symposium, several break-out sessions were held, and one session discussed specifically how five subtopics and sustainability can strategically affect the asphalt industry.  

The subtopics include net neutral carbon, the impact of additives, recycled materials, cool roofs/communities, and emissions. These subtopics play an essential role in how the sustainability of asphalt materials affects the asphalt industry in the future.  

As the industry continues to move toward a circular economy, the continued goals are to reduce energy consumption through production processes, reduce carbon, and increase the service life of the product.  

Some of the options for achieving these goals include creating a low-carbon technology that is economically viable and standardizing the industry’s criteria for each product category and carbon accounting. 

The Topic of Recycled Material

With asphalt being one of the most recycled products, new testing on asphalt additives that will be immune to manipulation will take asphalt even further.  

Deficient performance and high unpredictability caused by employing too much recycled material will hold back this practice. In addition:

  • legislative mandates before the technology are ready for deployment could be a significant challenge.
  • Improving the performance of recycled materials and ensuring the optimum percent of recycled materials for use in projects are two objectives to address these challenges. 

The recycled materials used in asphalt are not all the same, but they are very important to a sustainable economy.

A Circular Economy:  

A circular economy is a system that eliminates waste by using and re-using materials continuously. Asphalt starts as a bi-product and is used to create many of the roads we drive on, and when it is done correctly, it can last decades because of its durable nature. When the road needs to be reconstructed, the asphalt that is put down originally can be reused from recycled material. The benefits and advantages of reusing asphalt and how it contributes to the circular economy are significant. 

 “Asphalt pavement itself is the most recycled product in the world. That is because such a high percentage of materials that are removed from roads during reconstruction are reused back in future road construction projects” states Megan Yount, a Pavement Material Engineer at The Heritage Group.  

This is known as a circular economy, as asphalt pavement that is used and needs to eventually be removed, will be sent back to plants to be upcycled and reused for future projects. In addition, the recycling process of asphalt pavement saves both money and material.  

In the end, there are several factors that impact how well, how efficient a circular economy operates. From the STAR symposium report, our industry can identify enhancements in each area that will continue to improve and move the asphalt industry forward. Additionally, we can set goals on how to better not only the asphalt industry but also be a major contributor to our economy as we continue to build a more sustainable world. 

To learn more about Environmental Sustainability and other insightful information from The Asphalt Foundation, please visit: 

https://www.asphaltfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022_AIF_STAR_Report.pdf


Editors Notes: 

Net Neutral Carbon: When carbon dioxide emissions are balanced with emission removal, a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions is reached.  

Impact of Asphalt Additives: Chemicals called asphalt additives are added to asphalt to strengthen and more frequently form chemical bonds with aggregate, as well as to enhance the aggregate coating. 

Recycled Materials:  Recycled Asphalt Pavement is removing the top layer of asphalt from a roadway, parking lot, or driveway without affecting the sub-base and hot mix asphalt is frequently made with recycled asphalt shingles as one of its constituent parts.  

Cool Roofs/Communities: A roof that is designed to reflect more sunlight than a typical roof is called a cool roof. It absorbs less light and makes more use of solar power. This will support communities’ efforts to maintain more sustainable environments.  

Emissions/Odors: Airborne contaminants at concentrations below the defined toxicity thresholds are the source of odor emissions 

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The Challenge of Measuring Resiliency

Portions excerpted from the JULY – AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER Magazine from ARTBA, The American Road & Transportation Builders Association

ARTBA article written BY PETER GLUS

The transportation sector has helped advance the definition of resiliency. While traditional sectors may focus on protection from weather events, transportation professionals focus on mission and function—protecting the journey and the means that get people where they need to go.

Recognizing the current evolution and trend within the transportation industry to see ourselves through the lens of resiliency, ARTBA recently defined resiliency as “the merger of knowledge and innovation to construct and maintain transportation infrastructure that adapts to and withstands the test of time, emergencies, and the environment.”

Definition:
The term “resiliency” can be defined in many ways in the transportation infrastructure space. In this context, “resiliency” is defined as the merging of knowledge and innovation to engineer, construct and maintain transportation infrastructure that adapts to and withstands the test of time, emergencies, and the environment. Technology can contribute to resiliency by helping a project better anticipate, prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand and respond to disruptions for the expected life of the project.1

The public and private sectors continue to evolve through the use of innovation, technology, and processes to create a more resilient infrastructure. ARTBA supports the role of innovation and technology, as well as increased investment, in creating more resilient infrastructure and acknowledges that this will vary based on geography and is not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ New thinking in terms of quantifying the impact and benefits of resilient solutions as well as how innovative technologies are developed and deployed will guide these improvements.

These efforts have resulted in well-refined benefit-cost-analysis methodologies that are the cornerstone of federal and state grants and other financing. It is, however, challenging to define these broad functional categories with generally limited data, and the analyses are difficult to apply equally to rural communities, small cities, and large metropolitan areas.

In our (ARTBA’s) opinion, two steps can successfully enable the transportation sector to create a more accessible, standardized approach that accurately measures resiliency reflecting real-world conditions.

The first step is working with state department of transportation agency personnel by leveraging staff’s inherent understanding of unique cases, complexities and geographical conditions in state-specific locations.

Agency field staff’s intuition and vast first-hand experience can be far more valuable than the most powerful supercomputer simulation. Design thinking and other techniques can be helpful in tapping into this vast database of understanding.

The second step is to then share and find commonalities from state to state, so that we can take this outpouring of “people data” and compare it, refine it, and use it to help prioritize focus and investment. By rethinking how we use agency personnel’s first-hand knowledge, we have at our fingertips the beginning of a contextualized framework for defining resiliency within states.

To read the full article in the AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER follow the link below.

https://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/TB-July-August-2022-web.pdf

To read the AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER and others scan the QR Code below.

Peter Glus is senior vice president and North America mobility sales director for Arcadis.

You can reach Peter at: Peter.Glus@arcadis.com

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Preserved Pavements are Resilient Pavements

Excerpts from the JULY – AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER Magazine from ARTBA, The American Road & Transportation Builders Association

BY SCOTT BERGKAMP

We often have heard that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. As we evaluate our road networks for resiliency, this maxim certainly applies. In an emergency, a few scattered issues on major thoroughfares in a community will hinder first responders and population evacuation.

Focus on the Entire Network.

That’s why state and local road agencies—when improving the resiliency of their infrastructure—should enhance the pavement condition of the entire network via preservation. The uncertainty of trying to predict where failures will occur and then addressing only those locations—is eliminated when an entire road network is in good condition.

Pavement preservation is intended to keep good roads good—prolonging pavement life and resiliency—without adding structural value. Preservation techniques include surface treatments such as slurry surfacing, crack sealing, chip sealing, micro-surfacing, rejuvenation, hot and cold in-place recycling and thin-lift hot-mix asphalt paving, and concrete pavement restoration. In addition to providing cost savings for governments, pavement preservation utilizes up to 80 percent less of the earth’s non-renewable resources compared to conventional highway rehabilitation and reconstruction programs.

Less Maintenance. Fewer Emissions. Fewer Safety Issues.

Preservation treatments are completed quickly with minimal disruption to traffic. Freely moving traffic produces far fewer emissions than slowed or stopped traffic, so the environment benefits from decreased emissions means fewer road work-related traffic jams, less mobile construction equipment, and fewer, endless processions of haul trucks. Preservation fully utilizes reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), keeping it out of landfills. And preservation decreases airborne particulate matter (PM) compared to that emitted during conventional reconstruction.

In addressing network pavement condition, many agencies have demonstrated the ability to improve the condition of the entire network with pavement preservation practices, better utilizing their existing budget while enhancing resiliency.

A Cost-Effective Manner

Agencies found that improving a network’s overall resiliency in a cost-effective manner through pavement preservation is very achievable, and at the same time improves network condition. With this approach, the agency’s constituents will be pleased both during normal times, and also when they experience a disruptive event.

Saves Taxpayer’s Money.

Pavement preservation enhances system resiliency and is environmentally sustainable while it saves taxpayers money. On all accounts, it’s a win-win for road agencies and the road users they serve.

Scan the QR Code to visit the ARTBA Site.

To read the full article in the AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER follow the link below.

https://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/TB-July-August-2022-web.pdf

Scott Bergkamp is president of Bergkamp Inc., located in Salina, Kansas. He is the immediate past president of FP2, Inc., the Foundation for Pavement Preservation. Scott’s email is scott@bergkampinc.com

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IIJA Helping with Designing & Building Resilient Transportation Infrastructure

Dave Bauer

Excerpt from the JULY – AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER Magazine from ARTBA, The American Road & Transportation Builders Association

THE ARENA

On the Road Again

DAVE BAUER | President & CEO, ARTBA

More than 90 percent of American households have a car and three-quarters of Americans use them for daily commutes. Thanks to the IIJA, the country’s dominant mode of travel will become even more efficient, as projects get underway and are completed. While better transportation systems are the end goal, the creation of well-paying jobs and associated economic growth along the way will be an added benefit.

[T]he investments from the IIJA will not be limited to highways and will also bring much-needed improvements to airports and public transportation. The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has already announced $1 billion in Airport Terminal Grants so that those dealing with delayed and canceled flights will at least have modernized facilities in which to wait. The new law also more than doubles annual Airport Improvement Program investment which will lead to a dramatic boost in runway and other airside infrastructure projects.

Scan the QR Code to
visit the ARTBA Site.

To read the full article in the AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER
follow the link below.

https://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/TB-July-August-2022-web.pdf

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), aka Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. The law authorizes $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending with $550 billion of that figure going toward “new” investments and programs. Funding from the IIJA is expansive in its reach, addressing energy and power infrastructure, access to broadband internet, water infrastructure, and more. Some of the new programs funded by the bill could provide the resources needed to address a variety of infrastructure needs at the local level.

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Improving the Sustainability of Asphalt Pavements

Excerpt from Fall 2002 Asphalt Pavement Magazine

An increasing number of agencies, companies, organizations, institutes, and governing bodies are embracing principles of sustainability in managing their activities and conducting business. Historically, sustainability referred to environmental sustainability and simply meant using natural resources in a way that people in the future could continue to rely on their yields in the long term.

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Building Resilient Transportation Infrastructure Requires Investment, Innovation & Collaboration

Excerpt from the JULY – AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER Magazine from ARTBA, The American Road & Transportation Builders Association

CHAIRMAN’S CORNER – by WARD NYE | Chairman & CEO, Martin Marietta

Building Resilient Transportation Infrastructure Requires Investment, Innovation & Collaboration

“At the federal level, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has established both a formula and a discretionary program aimed at rewarding states that enhance the resiliency of transportation infrastructure and make plans for future investment.

At the federal level, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has established both a formula and discretionary program aimed at rewarding states that enhance the resiliency of transportation infrastructure and make plans for future investment.

As chronicled in the pages of this issue, stories of our industry’s endeavors to incorporate resiliency into transportation improvements abound. For example, building information modeling (BIM) helped replace the aging East 138th Street Bridge (known by many as the Madison Avenue Bridge) in New York City, making the city’s transportation grid more resilient. Learning from past weather events, highway engineers in Florida have constructed a 2.4-mile stretch of highway on the state’s east coast designed to be more resilient in the wake of future storms.

Scan the QR Code to
visit the ARTBA Site.

To read the full article in the AUGUST 2022 Edition of TRANSPORTATION BUILDER
follow the link below.

https://www.artba.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/TB-July-August-2022-web.pdf

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